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This Swedish power plant will warm hearts with rainbows

The biomass plant is a proposal from Danish architect Bjarke Ingels

This is the latest example we've seen of Northern Europe acting like its living 15 years in the future: a gorgeous biomass power plant encased in a rainbow-colored geodesic dome. The project was commissioned by the city of Uppsala in Sweden, with the plans drawn up by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG. There's no guarantee that this thing will get built, but BIG has a reputation for making crazy projects work.

The plant would use existing cogeneration biomass technology to supplement Uppsala's energy supply during the cold, dark, Swedish winters. 'Biomass' here refers to any biological matter used as fuel (it's usually plant matter) while the term 'cogeneration' simply means that the plant produces both heat and electricity at the same time.

However, Ingels and his team are hoping that the "Diamond Dome" (as it's modestly referred to in one of the concept renders) will be about more than just sensible energy policy — it'll be fun too. The greenhouse-like covering will allow "citizens to enjoy educational glimpses of what happens within," with a public catwalk around the ridge of the dome offering views of Uppsala's skyline. The ground space inside the dome will also be open to educational visits and when the plant is offline during summer months, BIG says the surrounding park area will be used as a "public space for the social and cultural life of the city." Why does 'hanging out by the old wood chip silos' just sound very, very Swedish?

It may sound like a fever dream of a particularly prudent civil servant, but compared to BIG's other projects it's practically modest. The agency recently started construction of another power plant project in Copenhagen in Denmark that incorporates a 31,000 square meter ski slope into its design. A fancy dome feels like dialing it in by comparison.

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